Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

© Can Stock Photo / NorGal

Sometimes you want a chocolate chip cookie. Other times you want an oatmeal cookie. Why not have both at the same time? I can’t recall where I first found this modern day recipe, but like most cookie recipes, it’s easy to prepare, and delicious.

By the way, I use almond extract instead of vanilla, and it really gives the cookies some extra zing.

Gayle Martin

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla and stir. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and blend into butter mixture a little at a time. Mix in the quick oats and fold in the walnuts, (if desired), and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake for approximately 12 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for about 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

*Almond extract may also be used.

If you like cookies, and who doesn’t, you’ll find even more delicious cookie recipes in  Rosie’s Riveting Recipes. Please click on the link below for more information.

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Larry’s Italian Wedding Soup

© Can Stock Photo/ bruhum

Writing is something I truly love doing. Along with writing Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I write contemporary romance novels under the name Marina Martindale. Each of my novels includes a scene in which a character cooks something wonderful, and I include the recipe at the back of the book.

This recipe is from my first romance novel, The Reunion. I love Italian wedding soup, so Larry, a seventeen-year-old aspiring chef, has prepared it for his ailing brother, saying it’s his grandmother’s recipe. In reality, however, this recipe is my own creation. It comes from a combination of several different Italian wedding soup recipes, along with a little trial and error.

Gayle Martin

Larry’s ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef*
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead together like a meatloaf. Roll into small meatballs, about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until brown. Set aside.

For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
  • I package of fresh mushrooms (optional)
  • 10 cups, (2 1/2 quarts) chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup small pasta (such as stars or small sea shells)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed**

While the meatballs are baking saute the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, (if desired), and fresh mushrooms, (if desired),  in olive oil in a stockpot for approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add chicken stock and white wine and bring to a boil. Once the soup mixture is boiling beat egg in a small mixing bowl with a whisk until slightly frothy. Pour egg slowly and incrementally into soup mixture, whisking the soup mixture continuously until all of the egg has been added. Add pasta, salt, (if desired) and pepper and allow mixture to simmer for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until pasta is soft. Add meatballs and dill. Cover and simmer on low for another 10 minutes. Add spinach and simmer for another 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Once soup is ladled into bowls top with grated Parmesan cheese.

* Ground chicken or ground turkey may also be used, or 1/2 pound of your favorite ground meat can be mixed with 1/2 of ground pork.

**Frozen or canned spinach may be substituted for fresh spinach

 

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Million Dollar Pie

© Can Stock Photo/
Noppharat

This recipe takes me back.

I was in Toastmasters for a number of years. It’s a wonderful organization, and you learn all kinds of interesting things listening to other member’s speeches. One night someone did a recipe demonstration for an easy to prepare pie that tasted like a million bucks, which was why it was called, Million Dollar Pie. Or so he said. Now mind you, I’ve never actually tasted cash, but it certainly is a delicious pineapple cream pie that only takes a few minutes to prepare.

Gayle Martin

MILLION DOLLAR PIE

  • 1 premade graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 package vanilla flavored instant pudding mix
  • 1 12 oz can condensed milk
  • 1 8 oz container whipped topping

Whisk together canned pineapple, canned milk and instant pudding mix in a large mixing bowl for about one minute.  Fold in the entire container of whipped topping mix. Once mixture is thoroughly blended pour into pie crust and gently smooth until it is evenly spread.  Chill several hours. Serve.

 

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Alex’s Macaroni and Cheese

© Can Stock Photo / MSPhotographics

When I’m not in the kitchen I write romance novels under the pen name Marina Martindale. So far, each novel has included a scene where my characters enjoy a home cooked meal, and I include the recipe in the back of the book.

In my second novel, The Deception, leading man Alex has just been reunited with Carrie, his long-lost childhood friend. When he comes to her apartment to prepare dinner for her, he makes his mother’s macaroni and cheese; their favorite childhood dish.

They say art imitates life, and macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite childhood dishes too. Problem was, I had no family recipe, and, ding, ding, ding, I’d been buying the prepackaged mac and cheese dinners for years. I confess. It was a bad habit I picked up back when I was a starving college student, and the time had come to break it. So I compiled several different recipes, did some test runs and tweaks, and soon came up with a mac and cheese recipe that was absolutely delicious. No wonder Alex and Carrie loved it. You will too.

Gayle Martin

ALEX’S MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 2 cups macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 1/2  cups milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend
  • (or 2 1/2 cups cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350F and cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. While pasta is cooking whisk milk and sour cream together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add seasonings. Set aside. Chop two tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Chill in refrigerator until needed. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small mixing bowl. Add breadcrumbs, blend thoroughly and set aside.

Layer half of the cooked and drained macaroni, butter and cheese into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Top with the remaining macaroni, butter and cheese. Pour in the milk mixture and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is crispy and brown.

If desired, ham or sausage may be added. Low-fat milk, sour cream and cheeses may also be used. Penne pasta may also be used instead of elbow macaroni.

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Eggless Chocolate Cake

© Can Stock Photo / NewIllustrations

Food was scarce back in Rosie’s day, and many common items on grocery shelves were hard to come by, even with rationing. Food companies had to come up with new recipes to make scarce ingredients go further, or even eliminate them completely. This delicious historic recipe, from the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes cookbook, omits eggs.

By the way, a rotary beater was another term for an eggbeater, although most of us today use whisks.

Gayle Martin

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups sifted flour
3/4 teaspoon soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine chocolate and milk in top of double boiler and cook over rapidly boiling water 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend with rotary egg beater; cool.

Sift flour once, measure, add soda, salt, and sugar, and sift together three times. Cream shortening, add flour, vanilla, and chocolate mixture. Stir until all flour is dampened. Then beat vigorously 1 minute. Bake in two greased and lightly floured 8-inch layer pans in moderate oven (375 F) 20 minutes, or until done. Spread frosting between layers and on top of cake.

Cocoa Cake: Substitute 1/3 cup cocoa for chocolate. Sift it with the dry ingredients; add cold milk with vanilla.

From a free preview of the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes historic cookbook please click on the link below.

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Hungarian Goulash

From the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes cookbook

© Can Stock Photo / fanfo

This historic recipe is great for using up leftovers, and while it includes potatoes as an option, I personally wouldn’t consider it a real goulash without the potatoes, or a can of tomatoes for that matter. If you have any leftover vegetables in the refrigerator you can certainly toss them in as well. Some people like to use ground beef and add pasta instead of potatoes, but that would be more of an American Goulash.

Gayle Martin

Hungarian Goulash

2 lbs beef chuck, neck or flank meat
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or drippings
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon caraway seed (if desired)
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
paprika

Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Let onion brown in butter, then add meat and let it brown lightly. Add caraway seed, marjoram, salt, chopped garlic and enough paprika to create a noticeable red color. Add 1 cup water, cover and simmer for 2  1/2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Whole potatoes may be added to the goulash 1/2 hour before done. Some goulash recipes call for the addition of tomatoes. Strained tomatoes may be substituted for water in this recipe. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Serve over noodles or your favorite pasta.

For more information about Rosie’s Riveting Recipes please click on the link below for a free preview on Amazon.

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Yes You Can Can

Historic U.S. Government Poster

Back in Rosie’s day home canning made food stretch further and helped save money. This is also true today. Whether it’s fresh fruit grown in your home garden or on sale at your local supermarket, home canning can be a lot of fun, as well as a nice family activity.

Home canning may seem mysterious or intimidating at first, but there really isn’t much to it. You’ll need to invest in a few basic supplies to get started; a canner, which is a large, oversized stockpot with a special rack inside, a jar lifter, and a set of mason jars, all of which can be found at Ace Hardware. You’ll also need some canning pectin, which is available at your local supermarket. From there you simply follow the recipes inside the pectin box. Here’s how I do it.

Start with the prep work

I begin by filling my canner with water, placing the rack inside, and turning the burner on medium-high. (If for some reason your canner does not have a rack, place a folded tea towel on the bottom of the canner before filling it.) The canner uses a lot of water, and it may take as long as forty-five minutes, perhaps longer, before it reaches the boiling point. You’ll need to fill your canner with enough water to cover the tops of your jars by at least one inch. Water gets heavy, so I use a pitcher to fill mine.

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and wash your jars, caps and rings. Place the jars on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. Drop the caps and rings in a saucepan filled with water. Heat the water until it begins to boil, and then turn the heat down to low.

Prepare the fruit

Prepare your fruit as directed by the recipes inside the pectin box. Do not deviate from the recipes. Once you’ve filled your jars, wipe away any excess that may have dripped on the top of the jar. Place a cap on the top and make sure the ring secure. Then, once the water in the canner has begun to boil, gently place the jar inside the canner with the jar lifter. Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and never place a jar directly on the bottom of the canner. Cover and boil the cans for the time stated in the recipe.

And finally

Once you’ve finished cooking your jars carefully remove them from the canner using the jar lifter, and set them on a dish towel.  As your jars begin to cool you’ll hear popping sounds. This means the caps are sealing. To test the caps once they’ve cooled press your finger down on the center. If the cap doesn’t move it’s sealed. However, if the cap should move it means it didn’t seal properly. Sometimes this happens, and if it does simply place the jar in the refrigerator once it’s completely cooled and use the contents promptly.

DO NOT try to lift the canner until it has completely cooled. A full canner will be extremely heavy, so you may need to bail out some of the water with a pitcher before lifting.

And, finally, the rings and mason jars are reusable, so be sure to hang onto them once the jar is empty. The only thing that needs to be replaced are the caps.

Gayle Martin

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Grocery Shopping Lessons

I learned from my mother

© Can Stock Photo/
sadakko

People are funny. Not “ha-ha” funny. More like, bizarre, funny. Being an author, I have no choice but to be on social media, and for years I’ve seen all kinds of posts, comments and memes belittling those who choose to prepare for an unexpected emergency. They’re called, “preppers,” “conspiracy theorists” and “tin foil hat wearers.”

People are mean-spirited and judgemental. That is, until some unexpected emergency, such as coronavirus, comes along. Then guess who’s panicking and grabbing up all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer? The very same people who made fun of the preppers and their tin foil hats.

We’ve become spoiled

Too many people honestly believe that food somehow magically appears in the grocery store. It doesn’t. The grocery store is the end of a long chain which begins on the farm, and farming is a high risk business. Droughts, floods, freezes, and pests such as locusts, can destroy crops, which means less availability and higher prices. In a worst case scenario they can create a shortage. Other factors, such as labor disputes, can effect the food supply as well. We’ve also become spoiled. Very spoiled. Thanks to modern technology, American grocery shelves all always full. Even seasonal fruits and vegetables, once only available certain times of the year, are now available virtually year round, thanks to modern food distribution.

It’s happened before

There was a time, however, in recent history, when the American food supply was disrupted. It was during WWII, and the U.S. government had to come up with a plan to discourage hoarding and help prevent shortages. Their solution was rationing, and my article, Food Rationing During WWII, at the top of this blog, explains it in more detail.

My mother grew up during WWII. She said that even with rationing, grocery store shelves were often bare. This experience certainly impacted her, and as an adult, and one of the things she taught me was how to shop wisely. This included not buying the name brand if the lesser known brand was cheaper. She also taught me to stock up whenever something was a sale. If there was a special on canned corn, she bought a few extra cans and put them in the pantry for later. It didn’t make her a tin foil hat hoarder. She was simply stretching her dollar, and her advice holds true today. If you only need one can of corn, and it’s on sale, buy an extra can or two, even if you don’t need it right now. Same goes for canned peas or tuna fish. Stuff happens, and it’s always nice to have a little extra food and supplies on hand, just in case. Coronavirus will eventually end, but people lose their jobs everyday.

Gayle Martin

For more information about the Rosie’s Riveting Recipes cookbook, please click on the link below.

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